What NASCAR and Formula 1 Can Teach Us About Go Kart Racing

January 16th, 2018

First off, let me state that go kart racing is easy. It isn’t very difficult to sit in a chair, press the acceleration pedal and steer around the track. It is however quite difficult to be able to do so like a professional. As you probably know, racers aren’t rewarded for simply finishing a course. It is all about how you do so. How many turns did you enter and exit perfectly? How many straightaways did you capitalize on? How many seconds did you waste? For those of you that aren’t racing enthusiasts, you may not know the basic pieces of advice that we learn from observing professional NASCAR and Formula 1 racers. That is why I put together this list of tips to help you maximize your go kart racing skills. And for all of you that already feel like a professional, feel free to come in and try these tips out at Speed Raceway.

Posture and Positioning

Just like in professional racing, good posture is quite important. It will help your body react quickly and efficiently, and it will minimize your potential for injuries. But even more important than that is good posture will improve your ability to handle the kart. You want to sit up straight while keeping your arms nice and relaxed. Often, we see people who get very nervous and rigid. Avoid this at all costs because it is extremely important for your arms to make quick and precise movements when turning. Resist the temptation to learn forward towards the wheel or bounce the kart by jumping in the seat. Both of these actions will end up hurting your acceleration.

Enter Tight, Exit Wide

When watching professional racers address turns, you notice that they hold off entering the turn until the last possible moment. They do this to preserve as much speed as possible. Go karts are no different. When you enter a turn, you want to do so as late as possible. Entering tightly will allow you to exit the turn as widely as possible,

which will maximize your speed as you exit the turn.

Minimize Break Use 

Professional racecar drivers often have to tap the breaks in order to avoid picking up to much speed. They drive at insanely fast speeds, so it is truly a safety concern for them. Go kart racing is much tamer in that regard. The karts start to slow down as soon as you let go of the acceleration pedal, so you don’t really have to worry about hitting the breaks at all. So long as you are paying attention to upcoming turns, releasing the pedal should be plenty of deceleration for you to safely navigate the turn.

Learn Your Specific Kart

As you probably realized after completing a few racers, no two go karts handle exactly the same. Some are slightly heavier. Some karts are newer. Other karts have tires in better condition. Each kart will have its own disadvantages, so it is important to learn those early. Pay close attention to your kart on the initial laps, so you can best determine how to approach each race. Also, you should remember that the act of racing will heat up your tires and make them grip better, so if they are slipping very badly at first, they should get better as they heat up.

We doubt that any of you need these tips, as you are all probably pros already. But at the very least, hopefully these tips help you enter the track with more confidence. If you find yourself still looking for more tips and information, feel free to subscribe to the Speed Raceway blog.